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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Responders work on a fire near Highway 89 in Layton Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012.

LAYTON — About 30 homes in Layton were evacuated late Saturday after a brush fire broke out in the foothills.

The residents in the Layton Ridge subdivision and along Hanney Canyon were ordered to evacuate as a precaution.

Dubbed the Ridges Fire, firefighters were worried that if the winds shifted, the flames could threaten several homes in the area. Fire crews were prepared to spend the night defending those homes if necessary.

"We have a hillside fire that's actually involving a lot of federal and stand land property right now," said Layton fire spokesman Doug Bitton. "We do have some concerns that we have downslope winds that have been projected."

The fire began about 6 p.m. east of Highway 89, burning brush and steep terrain. It had burned about 10 acres as of 11 p.m. How the blaze began, however, was unknown.

The steep terrain made it difficult for firefighters to reach the area and fight it from the ground. Air attacks were stopped for the night, which contributed to the concerns.

"This will be an overnight fire and will probably extend for many days to search for and seek containment," Bitton said.

Residents and drivers along Highway 89 flooded dispatchers with 911 calls. Smoke could be seen for miles. No homes were initially threatened, but dozens of families came to see where the smoke was coming from.

"I drove home, got the wife and kids and came over to take a look. It's probably tripled in size since I saw it first," Layton resident Michael Ellgren said of the wildfire.

"I see a helicopter going and trying to pour water onto the fire, which is spreading really fast," said Scarlett Kluge, who also lives in Layton.

More than 30 firefighters were battling the fire, which quickly became a danger to a nearby neighborhood.

The Red Cross set up an evacuation shelter at Northridge High School, 2430 N. Hill Field Road.

Fire officials also sent a Tweet warning commuters along Highway 89 to slow down because of the large amount of smoke in the area.

E-mail: jreyes@desnews.com

Twitter: @_JulianReyes_